Astana (Kazakhstan), April 7 (IANS) Indian boxers suffered a major set-back after the vastly talented Suranjoy Singh (52kg) lost his pre-quarterfinal bout to old nemesis Nyambayar Tugstsogt of Mongolia in the Asian Olympic Qualifying event here Saturday.
Suranjoy's dreams to represent India in the 2012 London Games are all but over as Nyambayar once again proved to be a difficult adversary for the Indian to beat. The Mongolian boxer, who now has a three-nil record against Suranjoy seemed to be in exceptional form and got the better of Singh by a fair margin.
However, 2010 Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Shiva Thapa (56kg) kept alive his Olympics dreams as he advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Thapa, who beat Afghan boxer Mohmmad Khaiber Nooristani, became the fourth Indian pugilist to have secured a spot in the quarters of the qualification tournament.
The Indian boxer took a crucial three point advantage in the very first round. The nimble footed Thapa, with his all-round ring movement and crisp attacks, kept increasing the margin, never allowing the Afghan boxer to get back in the bout.
By the close of the second round, Thapa had made it a five-point game. He went on to claim victory and a spot in the round of eight with a final score of 15-7.
The 18-year-old Thapa will square off against veteran boxer and 2010 Asian Games winner Worapoj Petchkoon of Thailand Monday. Thapa will have to be at his best to put one past the experienced Thai boxer.
With three slots available in the 56kg weight division, Thapa will not just have to make it to the semi-finals, but might also have to battle it out in a play-off bout to book his ticket to the London games.
Later in the day, Suranjoy paid the price of being too defensive. Nyambayar made full use of the psychological advantage over Suranjoy and took the game away from the Indian boxer.
From the beginning of the bout, Suranjoy was made to defend more than he could attack - and the aggressive approach of the Mongolian paid off. The 2010 Asian Games bronze medallist was completely out of sorts and could not find his natural rhythm. He was down four points after the first round (2:6) and by nine points at the end of the second (15:6). Suranjoy's campaign at the Asian Qualifiers came to an end with a 10:30 loss.
Beijing Olympic bronze medal winner Vijender Singh (75kg) will be seen in action in the quarterfinals of the middle weight division Sunday. The 26-year-old, who is now just one win away from securing an Olympic berth, will lock horns with 2011 Asian championship silver medallist Chuluuntumur Tumurkhyag of Mongolia.
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